Image Credit : Arch-exist / Here Space


Project Overview

In 2018, “Xinglong Lake Bookstore Architectural Creative Design Competition” started to be open to the public entries. MUDA-Architects emerged as the winner among 20 finalists out of 249 candidates.

Chengdu Tianfu New Area has been identified as a crucial node in the development of The Belt and Road Initiative and the Yangtze River Economic Belt. This was stressed by President Xi when he visited Xinglong Lake in February 2018. He also mentioned that it was significant to analyse ecological value in line with the development to implement the concept of “Park City”. To correspond, the competition is prepared for creating a lakeside bookstore as a new landmark of Chengdu, which could leverage the ecological value and the human spirit collectively. Taking this as an opportunity to reflect and embody the inimitable temperament and leisurely lifestyle of Chengdu, MUDA-Architects made efforts to convey the esteem of local natural environment and add a new dimension to the future vision of “landscape integration and urban symbiosis”.

The design is built with an impressive overall quality by a collective design including architectural design, landscape design and interior design presented by MUDA-Architects. The conceived “book” in architectural form would then be “read”by visitors as a space for reading and pondering with the closeness to nature.

Project Commissioner

China CITIC Urban Development & Operation

Project Creator



MUDA-Architects was founded both in Boston, USA and Beijing, China in 2015, whereafter Chengdu Office was established in 2017.

MUDA is composed by creative designers with the background of global diversification, who are forward-looking, experienced, professional and ingenious in the field of architecture and design. We are committed to cutting-edge urban design, architectural design, interior design and art product design, etc. The project practice is diverse, providing excellent customer service and acclaimed design works. We listen attentively, understand what our customers need, and leverage our expertise to create creative solutions.

As a global leading design company, we have received extensive attention and recognition at home and abroad, won the first place in the Xinglong Lake Bookstore International Architectural Creative Design Competition, the 2018 United States' Residential Stadium International Competition Design Award, etc., and won the Overall Restaurant Winner of 2020 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards, Winner Building of Hospitality Architecture of ArchDaily 2020, the Italian A'Design Awards in both 2019-2020 and 2018-2019, 2020 & 2019 American Architizer A + Awards, the Blueprint Awards of UK in 2019, the New York Design Awards in 2019, and the 2018 American IDA Design Awards. We have received major domestic and overseas media reports and publications. The diversity of our designs promotes the full expression of best design practices and enables our clients to consistently receive successful project results.

Project Brief

The design concept originates from the idea of “a book falling from the sky”, and the shape of book is engaged with the architectural form to visualize the metaphor. Visitors are expected to step into the architectural space and get immersed into the tranquility to develop a positive self-talk and a journey of self-discovery.

To create an appealing waterfront space, the project starts with a 12m*40m rectangular plane foundation located on the east lake shore of Xinglong Lake Southwest Bay Area. Two ends of the roof ridge are vertically stretched from 3 meters to 16 meters and 7.5 meters individually. The curved roof surface is formed according to four supporting corners as a flipped page, which reinterprets the pitched roof of traditional Sichuan folk dwellings. It also cooperates with the water ripples in order to extend the wavy feature to the architecture and blend in the natural environment.

The architecture is linearly expanded to conform with the site and connect with the lake. The glass curtain wall is constructed as the waterfront façade of the bookstore from 1 metre below the normal water level approximately. Visitors could get access from the main entrance on the south end. Walking through the art exhibition area and downward with several steps, the sunken reading area could be found as the core of bookstore. The theatre space, office and storage area are located at the secondary entrance, which could ensure the privacy and flexibility when activities are arranged.

Project Innovation/Need

For creating an ambience of serenity, MUDA-Architects adopts a sunken book area and introduces the natural light penetrating through the water into the interior space.

Art gallery walls and a sculpture display area are placed at the main entrance to release a sense of tranquility as the introduction of this book in architectural form without revealing the dimensions of the bookstore completely.

A row of cafe tables and chairs are furnished along the glass curtain wall to generate a waterfront reading area, which is functioned as a cafe as well. To complement the ambience, undulating water waves projected by the natural lights add more interests to the spatial experience. Rocks and submerged plants are plotted in front of the glass curtain wall as the background of swimming fish. Visitors could take a seat and have an ambiguous conversation with the lapsing time and the nature.

The design of meditation area takes account of self-talk and internal monologue. It is formed as a narrow corridor with several windows dispersed on the side wall. Those small openings allow the natural light to stream in with shadow cast while the light and shade tell the traces of time. Meanwhile, the interior wall is installed with a slender horizontal opening at the level of people’s sight. It creates a relatively enclosed space in the bookstore for visitors to ponder and catch a glimpse of natural environment, which aims to remind them of the relationship with the nature.

Design Challenge

The interior space is expected to be presented in the most concise way without any excessive ornaments. Benefited from the calming visual experience, visitors could subtly get comfortable with the reading area and choose the coziest way to perceive the design and the whole space.

The entirety of architectural structure is presented by steel frame. The vertical steel columns are subtly concealed in the keel installation of the glass curtain wall and covered by the wall with no traces.

More than 700 pieces of aluminum square tubes finished with wood grain extrusion are installed for the grille ceiling. Each piece is bespoken with its individual curvature for assembling as a smooth hyperbolic ceiling surface. Insisting on obtaining a neat appearance, the mechanical extraction ducts, the smoke detection system and lighting circuits are strategically wrapped in the gap between the ceiling and the steel frame of the roof. The grille extends from the ceiling to the foot of the wall to stress the tension of the space.

In order to ensure the quality, the underwater section of the glass curtain wall is calculated under the consideration of the highest water level during the flood season, and it has been tested for the waterproof performance by multiple times. Watertight process mainly focuses on the resistance to water pressure of the material and structure and the seams in between. Hollow glass panels with double-sided adhesive strips are adopted to meet the functions and requirements.


Titanium zinc panels imported from France are adopted for the exterior surfaces of the bookstore. Panels are installed by using the flat lock system to provide a fish scale texture and a visual connection with the shimmering lake. The titanium zinc panel could get protected from its zinc carbonate layer and get recovered from slight scratches by its oxidation. The outstanding intrinsic recovering capacity and the oxide layer would bring extra value and interests to the architecture. Thus, the material would maintain in use for a considerable longevity to avoid excessive maintenance.

Hollow glass panels with double-sided adhesive strips installed for the glass curtain wall, could help in keeping a stable room temperature and becoming highly energy efficient with the considerable relative insulation.

Designed with both transparent glass wall and solid coated façade, sunlight casts through the glass wall on the left side and introduces the lake view into the interior space. The architecture introduces the aquatic plants, lawns, other vegetation and water features into the interior space to correspond to the design theme of “reading in nature”. The distance between visitors and nature would evoke the further consideration of the relationship with nature.

This award celebrates the design process and product of planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, and aesthetic considerations. Consideration given for material selection, technology, light and shadow. 
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